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Bus driver faces multiple charges after crash

In the state of Massachusetts, it is illegal for both school and passenger bus drivers to talk on text on a cell phone while operating a bus. It is considered a primary offense, meaning that if a police officer sees a driver talking on the phone, he can pull him over and issue a citation just for that. The public transit agency has taken this law a bit further and made it against company policy for drivers to even possess a cell phone while they are on the job.

A bus driver is in hot water after video surveillance shows her with what appears to be a cell phone in her hand prior to crashing into a guardrail. A 64-year-old passenger aboard the bus said the driver was going too fast when she attempted to make a turn. He said she has been driving that particular route for about a month, and he had been concerned about her inclination to drive fast.

When authorities questioned the 42-year-old driver, she told them she suffered from seasonal allergies and a round of sneezes made her run off the road. One of the front wheels on the bus was left hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike and metal pieces could be seen on one of the Turnpike’s lanes.

There were nine passengers riding on the bus at the time of the distracted driving accident; seven of them suffered minor injuries. The driver was charged with obstruction of justice because she appears to have lied about not using her cell phone. She may also be charged with operating to endanger, impeded operation and speeding.

Source: The Boston Globe, “T driver in Newton crash had phone in hand, report says,” Martine Powers, John R. Ellement and Ellen Ishkanian, May 20, 2014

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